Monday, January 24, 2011

Szechuan Shrimp Stir Fry

I had a major hankering for stir-fry the other week.  It happens. My mouth starts involuntarily salivating thinking about stir-fry and I just want to lap up a bowl of soy sauce. No not really.  Maybe.  

Actually when I was a little kid, my mom had served a big platter of some meat dish that had a lot of soy sauce.  At the end of the meal, when all that was left on the platter was a pool of soy saucey goodness, I literally lifted the platter and tipped it towards my mouth, poised to drink down that delicious salty liquid.  My mom was, needless to say, horrified. 

Maybe only rivaled by that time she caught me with fistfuls of peeled garlic stashed away in my pockets, after I had pilfered the lovely odorific cloves from her when she was making kimchi.

Back to stir-fry.  I didn't want to go beef/chicken/pork because I had had a good bit of that over the holidays, so I decided to use shrimp.  My poor shrimp came all the way from Indonesia.  I'm a planet-killer. I just needed to get that confession off my chest.

This recipe for Szechuan style shrimp stir fry on got uniformly rave reviews from Epicurious readers.  If they all like it, why not me.  I added broccolini to the recipe to round out the meal.

Adapted from Epicurious

For the broccolini:
  • 1 pound broccolini (or other green veggie of your choice)
  • 2 tsp peanut oil (or other high smoke point oil)
  • 2 to 3 TBS water
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
For the sauce: 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili bean sauce (I used something like garlic black bean sauce or something)
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar or balsamic (I used balsamic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
For the shrimp: 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or other high smoke point oil)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped scallions
  • 1 lb raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
Wash and trim the broccolini, and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Heat 2 tsp vegetable oil (or canola or grapeseed or safflower, basically anything with a high smoke point) in a skillet over medium high heat.  Throw in the broccolini, toss to coat with oil, and add 2 to 3 TBS of water.  Let broccolini simmer for about a minute, then mix in the soy sauce.

Simmer about 3-5 minutes or until broccolini reaches your desired consistency, then remove broccolini to a bowl/plate and set aside.  Remove excess moisture from the skillet with a paper towel.

Moving onto the sauce: mix together all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Moving onto the shrimp.  Prep your scallions, ginger and garlic.

Very good. Heat the oil in your skillet over high heat until shimmering (a wisp of smoke is okay but if it starts to smoke too much, just take the pan off the heat for a minute to cool things down, otherwise you will burn your aromatics).  Add in the scallions, ginger and garlic.

Stir *just for 20 seconds*, then add in the shrimp.  Cook for about 1 minute, continuing to stir and move around.  Add in the sauce and continue to stir fry for about 3 minutes, until shrimp is just cooked.

Lower heat, add in the reserved broccolini and cook until warmed through.

Serve with steamed rice.  Take a picture with bad lighting. Sue me.

That is such a random picture.  Guess I was super hungry.



  1. Your stories of eating amuse me. LOL. I can't believe you pilfered raw garlic. The sauce sounds so tasty! Will have to try it this week.

  2. That looks so delicious!! I love stir fry and want to make it all the time, but Sean isn't a huge fan. What the hell? Maybe if you come visit us in Austin, you can make it for him. I'm probably doing it all wrong.

  3. I love stir-frys!! Love them. I hear you about seafood. It's hard to try to find sustainable seafood that is also relatively local and not super expensive. Nothing wrong with drinking soy sauce, BTW. :)

  4. Yum! I had a taste for stir fry the other day too, but I cheated and used the pre-bagged stir fry veggies. I totally relate on wanting to lap up the sauce! I am often guilty of craving french fries purely for a ketchup fix! Sometimes you desperately need one thing (ketchup/sauce), but need a mechanism (fries/stir fry) to make it more socially appropriate. *sigh* Damn you societal norms! Damn you to hell!

  5. Side note: if you ever need a cheater food (i.e quick, pre-made and not so much healthy) try Tai Pei pork potstickers. Holy mother of God they are Heavenly!!

  6. Oh broccolini, I have a newfound love affair with you. Shrimp, you have always been there for me. This recipe may just be dinner tonight.

  7. I don't know how you stopped yourself from eating those plump broccolini pieces, raw.

  8. Your childhood antics crack me up. What were you planning on doing with that garlic? Ward off vampires?

    I'm terrible at stir-frying. It never tastes delicious. I have a wok, but I'm probably too timid to get it hot enough for serious wok hei.

  9. I love shrimp stirfry! This looks delicious. And LOL on the garlic hoarding; awesomeness.

  10. when i see posts like this about yummy stir-fries, i wonder why i don't cook this way all the time. really, this seems like perfect food to me.

  11. oh wow. I actually really dislike soy sauce because of a baby sitting incident. let's say it like this: dumb game called "close your eyes and eat/drink whatever the little girl gives you." so, drank a big ole gulp of soy sauce, cold, from the fridge.

    i almost puked.

    maybe you can sway me back to stir fry. i'd trust you.

  12. lobster, hotcocoa and bigapplenosh: i couldn't resist the garlic! i know you would have been my co-conspirators had you been there, all that fresh garlic just sitting in front of you!

    kelsey and kate: would love to cook and enjoy a yummy stir-fry with you two!

    terri: i know, becoming more aware of these issues is definitely a good thing, but can also lead to a lotta guilt when i choose to go against local/humane food shopping.

    maylove: i think it's really funny that you get french fries in order to get to the ketchup!

    justcooknyc: it really is such a great food, isn't it? maybe i'll make another stir fry next week.